• Matt Beaney

#628 (22/6/22) GIFTS ARE FOR THE IMMATURE



‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.’ (1 Corinthians 13:11)

This is an illustration of what he just said in v.10; the ‘completeness’ that we will have when Jesus returns is likened to a child becoming mature. In this era, before Jesus’ return, We are all immature. As such, we need the gifts for our growth and nourishment. However, as a child sheds the womb, milk, nappies, crawling, gurgling… so we will shed this age of immaturity; at Jesus’ return, we will no longer need the gifts of the Spirit.


This is not an encouragement to grow up and be mature. Here, Paul is not rebuking the Corinthians as he did in 1:1-3. There is tells them:

‘Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 1:1)

There is a place to tell people to grow up and seek maturity. However, in this age, all of us are immature and will never be what we will be when Christ comes and finishes the work that He has begun in us.


RESPONSE

This is an encouragement to live now in light of then; we are to live now with a vision that we will come to fullness - like a child becoming an adult- only when Christ comes. In the meantime, we need each other. We need support. We need nurturing. We need the body of Christ. Gifts are for the immature - that’s all of us!

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at 13:8-13. The title of this message was 'LIVE NOW IN LIGHT OF THEN'.


Please read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.


Let’s remember what Paul is doing in this chapter: He’s correcting the church at Corinth. They are misusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He is reminding them that love is the be the motivation and goal of the gifts.


He begins by reminding them that ‘love never fails’ - Love is eternal; we will love one another and God eternally; however, the gifts are temporary and only for this passing age. Through these verses, we see this back and forth comparison between 'now' and 'then'; In this age - 'now' - we have gifts; these help us to 'know in part'. However, in the future age - 'then' - we won't need the gifts because we will see God and know God fully.

Paul uses the two illustrations of a child growing into maturity, and the incomplete nature of a reflected image in order to teach and contrast between now and then.


LIVE NOW IN LIGHT OF THEN

All of the glorious things that we will have at 'completeness' (when Christ comes) we can experience, in measure, now. We are to live now in light of then. For example:

i. 'Then', people will face judgement for sin; 'now', we are to receive Christ and be ambassadors for Christ.

ii. 'Then', we will be perfected in holiness; 'now' we are to seek and encourage sanctification.

iii. 'Then', we will be assured of our identity as loved and adopted; 'now' we are to seek to know our identity; we are to use our gifts to encourage others to know their identity.

iv. 'Then', all sickness and sorrow will pass; 'now' we can pray for the sick and bind up the brokenhearted.

v. 'Then', we will 'know fully'; 'now', we can know and enjoy God. We can use our gifts to help others to know and enjoy God.


Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) Although the gifts are passing away, what does this text teach us about what the gifts are for?

iii) When will the gifts pass away?

iv) What does this text teach us about that future age?

v) What does it mean to 'live now in light of then'?

SIV - What effect will 'living now in light of then' have on our witness?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.










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